ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, a benchmarking tool developed by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has grown to become an industry standard. Developed in 2000 as an online tool for tracking water and energy consumption, Portfolio Manager now includes roughly 40,000 individual accounts with more than 250,000 commercial buildings. Until recently Canadians have had to benchmark their buildings against US-specific data. Thanks to a partnership between Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and the EPA, a recent update to the tool has finally created a Canadian-specific ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.

Portfolio Manager requires users to upload building utility bills to establish water and energy consumption baselines and to quantify greenhouse gas emissions. Energy intensities (e.g. GJ/m2) are calculated and compared to other buildings with similar characteristics (e.g. end-uses, climate zone, floor area etc…).  Portfolio Manager gives an ENERGY STAR performance percentile rating of 1-100 to rank each building against similar buildings from the national population; a score of 50 represents the median and a score of 75 or higher represents top tier performance.  A building must earn a score of 75 or more to be eligible for ENERGY STAR certification.

With the adaptation of Portfolio Manager for Canada, it is now possible to compare buildings using Canadian-specific weather and building data. The Canadian addition includes provincial GHG emission factors, Canadian source-site energy factors, metric units, and an interface in both French and English. Canadian ENERGY STAR performance rating scores are based on the 2009 Survey of Commercial and Institutional Energy Use (SCIEU), a national survey completed by Statistics Canada in 2010. However, only K-12 schools and commercial office buildings are currently given a score. NRCan is working to add additional building types over time, with the addition of a hospital property type expected in February 2014.

ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager is only one benchmarking tool available to the Canadian building industry. The Canada Green Building Council has also created a similar tool called GREEN UP that, in addition to energy intensity and consumption data, includes interactive data visualization. Both tools can help building owners and operators identify opportunities for energy savings and monitor progress towards energy performance targets.


[1] The new ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager – Environmental Protection Agency.  Accessed at Retrieved October 3, 2013.

[2] GREEN UP – Canada Green Building Council.  Accessed at Retrieved October 3, 2013.

[3] Energy benchmarking – Natural Resources Canada.  Accessed at  Retrieved October 3, 2013.